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Cattle futures higher to end the week

At the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, live and feeder cattle were both higher ahead of the USDA’s Cattle on Feed numbers.  While placements were down, that was largely expected. 

There was another light round of direct cash cattle business on Friday.  Dressed deals were marked at $282, that’s $2 above the week’s previous business and the prior week’s weighted averages.  There was light business on Wednesday and Thursday with dressed deals in the North marked at mostly $280, generally steady with the previous week’s weighted average basis in Nebraska.  Live deals in the South were at $176 to $178, steady to $2 higher than the prior week’s weighted averages.

At the Valentine Livestock Auction in Nebraska, there was a sharply higher undertone noted on all steers and heifers.  The USDA says demand was good with several buyers in person and online.  Receipts were up from the last reported sale and on the year.  Feeder supply included 63% steers and 44% of the offering was over 600 pounds.  Medium and Large 1 feeder steers 502 to 549 pounds brought $298 to $308 and feeder steers 600 to 644 pounds brought $263.50 to $280.  Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers 505 to 542 pounds brought $265 to $278 and feeder heifers 602 to 610 pounds brought $256 to $258. 

In Nebraska, all forages were steady.  The USDA says demand was moderate to good.  Rains fell across several areas, providing producers with a little bit of optimism. However, pasture and range conditions are still rated 57% poor to very poor.  Alfalfa, premium, large rounds brought $270.  Alfalfa, good, large rounds, brought $210 to $250.  Alfalfa, ground, brought $285.  Prairie/Meadow grass, premium, small squares brought $7.50 to $9.  Prairie/meadow grass, good, large rounds brought $220.  In the Platte Valley area, alfalfa, good/premium, standing brought $125, FOB.  Alfalfa, ground, brought $275 to $285 and pellets 15% sun-cured brought $360.  In the West, Alfalfa, good, large squares brought $285.  Alfalfa, ground, brought $275. 

Boxed beef closed higher on solid demand for moderate offerings.  Choice was $2.79 higher at $301.10 and Select was $.33 higher at $283.94.  The Choice/Select spread is $17.16. Estimated cattle slaughter was 122,000 head – down 2,000 on the week and down 1,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill was 16,000 head – even on the week and down 39,000 on the year.

Lean hog futures were pressured by contracts’ premium to cash and long-term demand uncertainty. 

Cash hogs closed higher with fairly light negotiated purchases.  Processors were aggressive throughout the week in their procurement efforts and bid up to move needed numbers. Demand, overall, has been fairly solid on the global market.  Summer grilling season is just around the corner and there is some optimism it could provide a little boost to the markets.  The industry is also keeping a close eye on the availability of market-ready hogs. Barrows and gilts at the National Daily Direct were $1.45 higher with a base range of $74 to $90 and a weighted average of $80.46; the Iowa/Minnesota closed $.37 higher with a weighted average of $87.68; the Western Corn Belt closed $.82 higher with a weighted average of $87.68.  Prices at the Eastern Corn Belt were not reported due to confidentiality. 

According to the USDA’s weekly feeder pig report, early-weaned pigs and all feeder pigs were steady.  Demand was moderate to weak for a large offering.  The Total Composite cash range was $2.50 to $18 and a weighted average of $10.92.  The Total Composite formula range was $15.15 to $50.17 with a weighted average of $36.48.  The weighted average for early-weaned pigs was $20.96 and the weighted average for all feeder pigs was $42.22. 

Butcher hog prices at the Midwest cash markets are steady at $52. At Illinois, slaughter sow prices were steady with moderate demand for heavy offerings at $9 to $18.  Barrows and gilts were steady with moderate demand for moderate offerings was $43 to $53.  Boars ranged from $15 to $25 and $5 to $10. 

Pork values closed higher – up $.65 at $84.38.  Picnics, loins, ribs, and hams were all higher.  Butts and bellies were lower.  Estimated hog slaughter was 469,000 head – up 13,000 on the week and up 17,000 on the year.  Saturday’s estimated kill is 69,000 head – up 9,000 on the week and up 10,000 on the year. 

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